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Old November 10, 2011, 05:29 PM   #1
junker
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Simple casting?

To get started casting can I just get a mold, a dipper, and melt in an old pot? I know I can tumble lube... but what will happen if I don't size my bullets for the time being?

I would be starting with a mold for 38 special/357 magnum and have limited resources to get started.

I have a lead on some used 9mm molds but from what I understand those are slightly smaller than 38?
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Old November 10, 2011, 06:03 PM   #2
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gettin started

junker

I started just like you described, a lyman ladle & tumble molds .

Just be sure to use a steel pot !!

there`s a couple of stikys to read also.

& to overload on info go to castboolits !!

as far as 38 bullets in 9mm if they`ll feed & chamber they should be fine.
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Old November 10, 2011, 06:19 PM   #3
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Lots of us started like you describe.

What if you don't size your bullets? I size very few bullets. As a matter of fact, the only ones I do size are the ones I want to gas-check.

A small fire, a good pot, a ladle and a mold are all you really need. I'd bet that over the centuries, millions of bullets were cast using those very tools.
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Old November 10, 2011, 06:42 PM   #4
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gettin started

oops.
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Last edited by GP100man; November 10, 2011 at 06:44 PM. Reason: duplicate
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Old November 10, 2011, 11:06 PM   #5
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Simple...good. Getting started...good. Reading the stickies and paying special attention to the safety tips there and elsewhere...also good. Pouring your first boolits, loading and firing them....simply fantastic! Enjoy!
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Old November 10, 2011, 11:26 PM   #6
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As you probably have discovered, 9mm bullets are usually around .356 in diameter.
Many molds cast larger than they are expected to, so you really don't know what that 9mm mold is going to do until you cast with it. It might work well in your 38/357, but the only way to know is to try it.
There are literally tons of used 38/357 molds for sale out there for very low prices... Lee molds are pretty cheap brand new.
If you asked nicely, you might even get someone to loan you a mold for a month or so.
I only size my bullets if actual shooting tests show that I get better accuracy after sizing. Most of mine aren't sized.
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Old November 11, 2011, 09:28 PM   #7
WRustyLane
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Simple Cast Boolits

I am new to casting also. I bought 2 Lee moulds--one for 9mm and one for .45 LC. Last week I cast all day long and cast about 400 .45 255 grain boolits and about 300 9mm .356 124 grain boolits. I don't size my boolits. I took out my cylinder for my .45 colt clone and drop the bullets through the cylinder. So far every one I've cast has gone through the cylinder. That way I know the round will chamber when I get ready to shoot it. I spot check a few and stick 'em in the front part of my bbl. just to make sure the meplat will go in up to the first driving band. I haven't found a way to check my 9mm, but from all that I've read, you really don't have to size cast bullets. You have to run your own quality control. After casting, I sit watching TV and inspect all my bullets that I've cast. The rejects go in a can to be returned to my casting pot. I started out with a dutch oven on my grill side burner. When it wouldn't get hot enough to even melt lead, (and a lot of smoke) I gave up and ordered a casting pot from fleabay. I now use my Coleman stove, yeah the kind you have to put white gas in and pump it up! It definitely gets hot enough to melt lead. Now that I've found a use for the dutch oven I started out with, I plan to smelt lead wheel weights in it and use it for the trash pot (smelting lead weights) and keep my little 10 pound pot for casting bullets. If anyone has a sure fired way to check out 9mm without sizing, please let me know. I thought about taking my High Point C9 apart so I can access the chamber and test 'em that way. WRL
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Old November 13, 2011, 12:05 PM   #8
chris in va
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FYI, the Lee 358-125-RF mold drops at 362 (at least mine does). I use it in my CZ 9mm after sizing it back down to 358. Just thought I'd warn you.

None of the 'tumble lube' bullet designs have worked for me. I recommend you just get a regular mold, get the inexpensive sizing die if necessary and tumble lube those with Johnson's Paste Wax and 10% mineral spirits.
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Old November 13, 2011, 03:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
If anyone has a sure fired way to check out 9mm without sizing, please let me know. I thought about taking my High Point C9 apart so I can access the chamber and test 'em that way. WRL
For inspecting bullets, it's not much to worry about. Visually glance--if lines are all crisp and your fill-out is uniform, then mic a couple to see what diameter they're dropping at. If that spec's ok, that's all you need to worry about. If it's chambering you're concerned with, do the same as you would anyway as a reloader--load a dummy, and chamber it. Pre-firing, that's about all the inspection you really need. Now, loading and development is another issue entirely.
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Old November 19, 2011, 04:43 AM   #10
Mike / Tx
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Quote:
Simple casting?
To get started casting can I just get a mold, a dipper, and melt in an old pot? I know I can tumble lube... but what will happen if I don't size my bullets for the time being?

I would be starting with a mold for 38 special/357 magnum and have limited resources to get started.

I have a lead on some used 9mm molds but from what I understand those are slightly smaller than 38?

If I am reading your post correctly, your looking to cast for a 38/357, and hoping to use a 9mm mold?

If this is the case your probably not going to get the end result your looking for, with your loads, and would be better off going with the .358 molds.

Your best bet IMO is to simply pick out the bullet weight you want to shoot, the type bullet your wanting and get the mold in the proper caliber. This will put you ahead in the game from the get go. One of the biggest issues is fit, the next is alloy, then lube, and the last is load pressure.

Since your on a limited budget to begin with, I would look hard at the Lee molds. They are cheap and come in a variety of good profiles for the .357 caliber. They do however cast some very nice bullets even if they do have a few small issues. You want to be sure you size your bullets correctly to get the best performance. This also keeps form having to spend hours cleaning the lead out of the barrel of your revolver as well. It is REALLY better to slug your bore or have it slugged by someone to start off with, as well as miking the throats of each your chambers. Sometimes you will find that these are smaller than the bore of your revolver and in this case it is hard to get your loads to shot without leading as when you shoot the cylinder sizes them down to below bore diameter. This can easily be fixed by having them polished out a bit to the correct size.

Once you have your sizes noted, you bullet profile picked out, and purchase the mold, pour up some bullets and let them sit for a week or two before doing anything with them. They will settle out and by then not only will the hardness be more stable but they will have settled in size as well. Then you can mic them for size and if needed size them to the proper diameter to fit your revolver. The alloy you use will determine how this works out for you. Harder alloys take longer to completely settle it seems than softer ones. Your looking for something ranging from about a 9BHN through around a 13 BHN and doing a little research will put you down the right path to start off with. Standard WW alloy is great, just be watchful for the zinc ones and don't let them get into the mix.

Sizing, I highly suggest simply getting the proper die from Lee. They are so simple even I can use them. Screw the sizer into your press, slip in the push rod, stand one up on it and shove it through. You can lube them first or not. If not at least shoot them with a tiny bit of WD-40, so they don't smear going through the sizer. Once sized then do the tumble lube, and your set.

As for lubes, straight Alox, which comes with every Lee sizing kit, is as fantastic as it is messy and nasty. There are several different ways to work with it that help out a LOT. The best I have found is mixing up what is called 45/45/10 which is simply 45% Alox 45% Johnson's Paste Wax, and 10% Mineral Spirits. This goes on light, and dries within an hour or two and your ready to load or size depending on your routine. Me personally I lube before and after sizing. Another method is after lubing with straight ALox, to dust them down with a light coat of talc, or corn starch to kill the stickiness. When I lube I also use those cheap disposable nitril gloves to keep it off my hands. I lube in a zip lock freezer bag and can usually get several uses out of it before I chunk it.

When your looking at molds, don't simply look at the tumble lube ones as with the Alox or similar TL's you can lube any bullet design. If you want full .357 magnum loads then you might also want to use a GC design to help eliminate possible leading with the higher pressures. Straight target only or hunting loads of around 1000fps or less can easily get by with out them. This is where fit revolves around function.

If you know your revolver dimensions, you can usually pick up a new Lee mold, and sizing kit for around $40 depending on if you go with a two or six cavity mold, and where you get them from. The six bangers are a bit more involved, but there is plenty on the Castbooit site to get you up and running in no time. One thing to remember is the 6 cavity molds don't come with handles.

As suggested there is plenty of info and links in the sticky's located above and on Castboolits. Research is your friend and notes are your best ally. Good luck and hope this helps.
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Old November 19, 2011, 01:37 PM   #11
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That's all you'll need. Lee Tuble Lube bullet molds are designed to be used without sizing, or so I've heard over, and over. Lee has a double cavity mold for a 158 gr. SWC Tumble Lube bullet that will prolly work well in any .38/.357.http://leeprecision.com/xcart/Bullet...Double-Cavity/ Xlox is available from White Lable Lube http://www.lsstuff.com/lube/. Cast up a bunch of bullets from wheel weights or scrap lead, tumble them with a little xlox thined with mineral spirits, let dry and load 'em up ( I roll crimp them in the second or third groove down from the nose)...

P.S. A good source of cast boolit info is Lyman's Cast Bullet Handbook
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